My first 6 hours with a separate amp; what am I hearing? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 03:17 AM
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Really? Walnut, CA? That’s like my hometown essentially lol. Small world....:.


For me I notice a difference in the transient response time/effect when using a dedicated power amplifier to power the front left and right speakers. Thing is I also feel the sound benefits from adding a power amplifier is in many ways limited by the quality of the pre processor / DAC / ADC / processing capabilities and components/chips used.


Does anyone else feel this way? Or is this “feeling” I have about this issue an actual known and proven thing?
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post #32 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post
The MonoLith amplifiers are built by ATi, located in Walnut, CA not Rancho Cucamonga. Rancho happens to be the location of MonoPrice where the Monolith amplifiers are shipped from. Note that ATi builds amplifiers for many brands including Haman/JBL..

Just my $0.02...
I stand corrected, but Rancho Cucamonga is a helluva lot more fun to say, and it doesn't change the "Made in USA" label

EDIT: Oh FFS! Rancho is only 23 miles from Walnut! You couldn't have let that go?

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post #33 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 05:34 AM
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The issue with perceiving higher sound quality when upgrading to a high quality, big, heavy, exciting amplifier is a thing called confirmation bias. It as a 100% factual and unavoidable part of being human. We EXPECT things to sound better, we listen closely to notice the improvements we expect to hear with our shiny new super high quality ultra audio upgrade. We do 100% for a fact hear a difference. The problem is, it has been shown that when you then compare said amp in a true blind test in which you don't know which one you are listening to, the ability to tell which amp is playing disappears. The results are ALWAYS different. Sighted confirmation bias, just like the perceived sound quality difference we hear, is a 100% scientific fact.

In fact, the tester can pretend to switch the amp and the listener will hear a difference even though they are in fact listening to the same amp. All the subjective impressions we get completely ignore this and simply resort to....nuh-uh, I did a sighted, non level matched camparison and I heard a difference. Yes, we all agree 100%....you did hear a difference. But there is an extremely high chance that its not why you think. Subjectivists ignore this as evidence to those who ignore evidence is meaningless.

Can a more powerful amp improve sound quality if the less powerful one is driven into clipping and/or distortion? Of course.

It's very difficult for someone who hooks up their expensive shiny new piece of equipment to acknowledge that perhaps the difference they are hearing might not be a true difference but merely one that is perceived due to other reasons, and no amount of evidence is going to change their mind. The only thing that sets the record straight is when accurate double blind testing removes all the bias and suddenly changes the results.

By the way, I'm shopping for a new amp, but not for magical audiophile sound quality improvements, but to have more clean power. There are definitely aspects of amplifier design that can affect sound such as noise floor, IM distortion, etc, but most any good quality modern day AVR/amp will be indistinguishable under proper test conditions.

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post #34 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidTheGeek View Post
I stand corrected, but Rancho Cucamonga is a helluva lot more fun to say, and it doesn't change the "Made in USA" label

EDIT: Oh FFS! Rancho is only 23 miles from Walnut! You couldn't have let that go?
Ha ha ha..
Only 23 miles..
But in SoCal freeway traffic it will take 90 minutes to cover the distance..

Just my $0.02..
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post #35 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
The issue with perceiving higher sound quality when upgrading to a high quality, big, heavy, exciting amplifier is a thing called confirmation bias. It as a 100% factual and unavoidable part of being human. We EXPECT things to sound better, we listen closely to notice the improvements we expect to hear with our shiny new super high quality ultra audio upgrade. We do 100% for a fact hear a difference. The problem is, it has been shown that when you then compare said amp in a true blind test in which you don't know which one you are listening to, the ability to tell which amp is playing disappears. The results are ALWAYS different. Sighted confirmation bias, just like the perceived sound quality difference we hear, is a 100% scientific fact.

In fact, the tester can pretend to switch the amp and the listener will hear a difference even though they are in fact listening to the same amp. All the subjective impressions we get completely ignore this and simply resort to....nuh-uh, I did a sighted, non level matched camparison and I heard a difference. Yes, we all agree 100%....you did hear a difference. But there is an extremely high chance that its not why you think. Subjectivists ignore this as evidence to those who ignore evidence is meaningless.

Can a more powerful amp improve sound quality if the less powerful one is driven into clipping and/or distortion? Of course.

It's very difficult for someone who hooks up their expensive shiny new piece of equipment to acknowledge that perhaps the difference they are hearing might not be a true difference but merely one that is perceived due to other reasons, and no amount of evidence is going to change their mind. The only thing that sets the record straight is when accurate double blind testing removes all the bias and suddenly changes the results.

By the way, I'm shopping for a new amp, but not for magical audiophile sound quality improvements, but to have more clean power. There are definitely aspects of amplifier design that can affect sound such as noise floor, IM distortion, etc, but most any good quality modern day AVR/amp will be indistinguishable under proper test conditions.
If you truly believe everything you said then the last paragraph means nothing. You frequently give the advise that amps do not sound different. Still you can't decide on what to buy.

Take you own advice and pick one.
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post #36 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 08:42 AM
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There absolutely can be a difference in sound, depending on what you're coming from and what you're going to. However, there can also be confirmation bias in your purchase if you're "wanting" to hear better from a good enough amp to a more powerful one.

To me, the benefits of powerful separate amps are multi-fold.

1. AVRs or lesser amps run a lot hotter if you ask them to play a lot of channels, which shortens their life spans and can have negative effects over time. Separate amps can be good for your system whether or not it sounds better to your ears. Preamps can focus on processing, switching, etc, without having all those amp components stuffed inside all around the mother board, and without having to perform that function as well.

2. More headroom is always good considering you don't know what kind of source material, equipment, or task you're going to throw at it in the future. For instance, some of these sound mixers will work in really big volume level changes within a movie that hits peaks far louder than others, and good amp/speaker combinations will handle it with ease. You can make upgrades to speakers without giving it a thought, and if you build a bigger house with a bigger room in the future, again, you'll have what you need to drive it.

3., Much like relatively high-end speakers, high quality separate amps tend to last forever and never get outdated. Once you have them in place, you can make other changes without ever giving the amps another thought.
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post #37 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erod View Post
AVRs or lesser amps run a lot hotter if you ask them to play a lot of channels, which shortens their life spans and can have negative effects over time.
Yep. Years ago while in college I helped write a book about reliability. Most ICs are packaged in Epoxy Novalac. Basically a black plastic resin. It's water proof, but not hermetically sealed. Little by little, water can and does diffuse through the packaging and eats away at the IC. The hotter it is, the faster the water diffuses. Similar to how a soda bottle can go flat over time. The gas slowly makes it's way through the plastic bottle.

It's why military ICs are packaged in ceramic. Not plastic. That and ceramic keeps it cooler.

To the OP...
If the difference is heard at louder volumes, I suspect the Denon is partially clipping or distorting. If a difference is heard at lower volumes, it might be in your head. At least partially.
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post #38 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erod View Post
There absolutely can be a difference in sound, depending on what you're coming from and what you're going to. However, there can also be confirmation bias in your purchase if you're "wanting" to hear better from a good enough amp to a more powerful one.

To me, the benefits of powerful separate amps are multi-fold.

1. AVRs or lesser amps run a lot hotter if you ask them to play a lot of channels, which shortens their life spans and can have negative effects over time. Separate amps can be good for your system whether or not it sounds better to your ears. Preamps can focus on processing, switching, etc, without having all those amp components stuffed inside all around the mother board, and without having to perform that function as well.

2. More headroom is always good considering you don't know what kind of source material, equipment, or task you're going to throw at it in the future. For instance, some of these sound mixers will work in really big volume level changes within a movie that hits peaks far louder than others, and good amp/speaker combinations will handle it with ease. You can make upgrades to speakers without giving it a thought, and if you build a bigger house with a bigger room in the future, again, you'll have what you need to drive it.

3., Much like relatively high-end speakers, high quality separate amps tend to last forever and never get outdated. Once you have them in place, you can make other changes without ever giving the amps another thought.
Totally agree on all points. I have AC Infinity AIRCOM T8 cooling fans on my AVR X8500H and my Parasound 52 Plus 5 channel amp. The Denon runs cooler for sure when I check the temperature, since the Parasound is doing the heavy lifting ( it's powering the L / C / R and wide channels ). Also, the Denon just sounds cleaner louder with my 4 ohm Martin Logan Motion speakers ( all 13 of them ).
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post #39 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post
If you truly believe everything you said then the last paragraph means nothing. You frequently give the advise that amps do not sound different. Still you can't decide on what to buy.

Take you own advice and pick one.
My speakers are rated for 250 Watts, my AVR only puts out around 100. I've always said, one reason to upgrade amps is if you want/need more power. I'm looking to pick up the 3-5 dB of headroom that a more capable amp would provide. Many of the common contenders only offer around 200 watts/channel. If I'm going to upgrade, I prefer to end up with more power than I currently need, and hopefully all I may possibly ever need. I don't fool myself into thinking it will sound magically better at low volumes. I consider this a fairly large purchase that I have just started researching as far as brands, etc so yes, haven't quite made up my mind yet.
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Originally Posted by DavidTheGeek View Post
I stand corrected, but Rancho Cucamonga is a helluva lot more fun to say, and it doesn't change the "Made in USA" label

EDIT: Oh FFS! Rancho is only 23 miles from Walnut! You couldn't have let that go?
I would like to add that "Made in the USA" apparently does not require that all parts of the amplifier are in fact made
in the USA. A lot of times products like these still have the majority of parts farmed out........ to whoever, and the requirement for Made in the USA is then met by simply doing final assembly here, or maybe even by outright lying.

For example, one of my favorite pro amplifiers WAS... (discontinued), also made in the USA by one company. The B52 US series, who make the US 6000 US 5000 US 4000 US 3000 US 1800 etc. The whole line was branded by B52 to be made in the USA, Yet the amplifier was 100 percent internally identical to the rest of the companies who supplied the same amplifier, as made in china............. being the Cerwin vega CV series, The American Audio V series. The Samson SX series etc. I personally found it hard to believe the exact same amplifier internally , component by component, would be made in the USA, when the company that makes the OEM version, the HPA series, is made in CHINA.

End story............... Even the "Made in the USA" tag, is losing its authenticity and luster in todays world, and does not mean what is assumed by the final consumer.

The Monoprice Monolith 7 amplifier series, only officially indicates on OPEN ADVERTISING, that the product is DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED IN THE USA. There is no made in the USA stamp on the amplifiers anywhere........... something that certainly would be inexpensive and valuable if true. Other than someone giving you second hand word of mouth, I would assume these are not made in the USA, until they fully include the stamp on the amplifier, and include in in all manuals and literature, thus accepting full liability to the public, for such authenticity of make.

https://******************.com/index.php?topic=459.60
A Good amplifier requires a adequate power supply, It does not matter what the amplifier is capable of if the power supply will not provide the power required. Most amplifiers have under rated power supplies. It is up to you to make sure you get the ones that are least under rated if at all.

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post #41 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 04:59 PM
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I have helped many people over the years with amps VS AVRs--it depends,

My latest person is a self proclaimed "audiophile" and he had verious incorrect theories about amplifiers. He wanted an AVR but to run his favorite ubertastic X series amplfier. No problem! Get thise 100 watt per channel AVR and plug the amp in for your left/right and be done with it. His ubertastic amp had no powerr meters but did have a clip light and put out around 200 watts per channel. He was a happy camper for about a month--then the questions come in. His speakers are a sky high 103 dB efficient fully horn loaded big boxes and he uses VBSS subwoofers. He pondered does he "need" the Uber amp for his L/R for the HT in the living room?

Since electronics is not his thing, he wondered if there was a better way to test it. I ambled over with my Crown XTi amplifier that has power output/clip/limiter lights but has an added feature--adjustable limiter. I plugged in the USB and set the voltage limiter to 30 volts (around 110 watts) and let him play with it for a few weeks. Told him to write down what power level lights peak out at, he has -30dB, -20dB, -10dB and the limiter light will flash at -5dB because it was adjusted down. Told him to go into rockstar mode, play movies at reference and yell more power! when giving the system the screws.

A few weeks go by and I drop by to visit. He removed my amplifier AND his amplifier and was running just the AVR--he had his answer. He told me he blasted it to -10dB (30 watts) and when using speakers rated at 103dB at one watt--he was going well past reference and things became sonicly uncomfortable. He did run my amp to the limiters set at around 110 watts and when his mains were pumping 124dB each it was physically painful. He did all sorts of listening, thought about it then removed my amp. He had friends over for movies, music and jam sessions--they never noticed any change but he did turn the amps on so it looked like they were still hooked up. Weird, his muscian buddies did not notice.

If you understand efficiency and power--you'd laugh at him thinking he needs amplifiers for reference levels--very true. He was happy that he didn't need more power, really happy that his favrite amp can be used to make another sound system He loves his old amp, his faithful companion for decades and likes the look of the "old iron" so life is good. He hooked it up to some different, low efficiency speakers (around 85dB) and does notice on occassion he will hit the clip light. Strange how his AVR has much higher SPL capability but that is how the game works. For his low efficiency speakers, he NEEDS as much power as he can get and being 4 ohms--I'd advise running high current amplifiers to provide the power pigs some chow.

The right tool for the job applies in audio as well as everything else on the planet--audio is not "special" in any way, shape or form. For me, if an amplifier operates on the cool end of the spectrum, does not clip for my SPL, speaker impedance and thermal capabilities (garage gets HOT so no AVRs out there!) has the features I demand (power output meters/clip lights as I won't purchase amps that don't) all is well. Then it comes down to aesthetics--nothing wrong if the amplifier looks nice. Presently, I have one AVR, two outboard amps and the mighty Class D chip integrated amp at my disposal. My AVR does not require outboard amplfiers because my mains/center is 98dB at one watt and a solid 8 ohms so it runs very cool, no issues with it even at reference levels. My XTi is used to power subwoofers and my other amp sits in the garage powering line arrays. About once a year, time to party so the XTi is removed from the subs and powers the line arrays outside in the heat. No problems, it can tap the limiter light with each drum hit all day in very hot weather as the limiter is set at -2.5dB. Those fans sure kick over in the summer heat! My other amp is passively cooled so not a good idea--wrong rig for the gig.

My buddy never did mention "sound quality" to me--I figured he would of put the XTi against his uber amp--most likely he did! I have no idea what he did with my amp, did he compare it to his then compare them against the AVR amps? Most likely, all part of the fun when playing with a new toy. New toys are better when you don't play with them. I never asked him mainly because I don't care. I did blind ABX testing with amps and receivers back in the day, learned what I wanted to know and pressed on.

I do find it odd that people will give ONE reason why they need large amplifiers--"because they sound better". Uhhhhh, not in my experience so no gain. At least some people tell me the truth, they like the look of big amps, the feel of stout switches/knobs or feel better if sometime in the future, they need more power they will have it! Nothing wrong with that, I had a 400 watt per channel amp hooked up to some bookshelf speakers in a college dorm. Did not "need" the power, could not use the power and would physically get my butt kicked even if those bookshelf speakers could handle that kind of power! Once those booshelves went past 100 watts, they would protest with major distortion although the amp had another +6dB in the tank before it would think of clipping. Was I an idiot for having such a powerful amp that I could never use? No, I liked the look of it, the quality components and eventually--I had speakers that could use the power without distortion. I've owned quite a few amplifiers over the years be they car amps, PA amps, consumer amps and now throw in a chip amp. Realistically, for the amplifiers I purchase none of them have an edge for "sound quality" but they all do different things and I never purchased them for sound quality in the first place.

When asked, the only recommendation I have is at the very least--it should have a clip light. Not a hard demand but it does amaze me that some very expensive consumer amps don't have them. I find them critical for proper gain structure in sound systems and find it odd that most of them are gone. The XTi is very entertaining for the OCD, it has mutliple screens of input/output wave forms, voltages etc. and slap on a tablet and go. Maybe now that Samsung has taken over Harman, they can revive HK and put that feature cooked in for consumer AVRs--it could happen! They own the tech so I'm crossing my fingurs--my AVR won't last for ever.

For Bear, I would rent a Crown XLS1502 for a weekend (pro sound places rent them) hook up two channels and listen for anything a bit crazy with your HTM-8s. Depending on your configuration, how efficient your surrounds are and how close to you they are located--most likely you can let the AVR do the surrounds and let a 3-channel do the hard lifting. The AVR can then use it's power supply to really throw some current at the surrounds so a win all the way around. My next project is building some surrounds at 96dB 1w/1m and a solid 8 ohms (16 ohm tweeter) Overkill? You bet but ya never know when you might inherit a 20 x 40 foot building so.. never know when you will need surrronds capable of 120 dB at one meter. Shame you on't live near me, I could lend you my XTi and have you play with the adjustable limiter to see what you need.

Good luck.
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post #42 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post
The MonoLith amplifiers are built by ATi, located in Walnut, CA not Rancho Cucamonga. Rancho happens to be the location of MonoPrice where the Monolith amplifiers are shipped from. Note that ATi builds amplifiers for many brands including Haman/JBL..

Just my $0.02...

I hate to go against my friend M-Code, but ATI amplifiers are built in Montebello, CA.


Jeff
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post #43 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Stereojeff View Post
I hate to go against my friend M-Code, but ATI amplifiers are built in Montebello, CA.


Jeff
Look carefully at the bottom right hand corner of ATIs home page.


https://www.ati-amp.com/about.php

After all the fancy wording in the adds. the official logo still does not say MADE IN THE USA.

Copy and paste the below text from there.


Designed, Engineered and
Assembled in the USA

This is not a official "Made in the USA" compliant logo. So even these ATI amplifiers are not made in the USA, Officially they declare they are designed in the USA, then they declare, they are engineered in the USA, and lastly they declare they are ASSEMBLED IN THE USA.

This means the ATI branded amplifiers are not made in the USA, they are made under the alternate declaration as the content does not meet made in the USA criteria for an official Made in the USA declaration. Any amp ATI makes under and for another brand name, it is the responsibility of the brand buying the amplifier licence, to properly indicate where it is made. Like I said earlier , if the Made in the USA logo is not stamped on the back of the amplifier, it no doubt is not made in the USA.
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A Good amplifier requires a adequate power supply, It does not matter what the amplifier is capable of if the power supply will not provide the power required. Most amplifiers have under rated power supplies. It is up to you to make sure you get the ones that are least under rated if at all.

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post #44 of 62 Old 07-22-2019, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Stereojeff View Post
I hate to go against my friend M-Code, but ATI amplifiers are built in Montebello, CA.


Jeff
here is how I look at it being from SoCal as well, EVERYTHING from the grapevine down to the border is "LA" as there is literally no break in city that entire way.

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post #45 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 08:16 AM
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here is how I look at it being from SoCal as well, EVERYTHING from the grapevine down to the border is "LA" as there is literally no break in city that entire way.
That is not entirely accurate, but almost. I live in San Clemente, between your town and mine, there is a very nice break in the city scape, it being Camp Pendleton. I enjoyed some fairly potent ordinance percussion last night. perhaps, you did as well.
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post #46 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by shivaji View Post
That is not entirely accurate, but almost. I live in San Clemente, between your town and mine, there is a very nice break in the city scape, it being Camp Pendleton. I enjoyed some fairly potent ordinance percussion last night. perhaps, you did as well.
Yes that stretch is nice, can go 85 and no one bats an eye.

I did enjoy the ordinance last night, my kids on the otherhand.... not so much.
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post #47 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erod View Post
1. AVRs or lesser amps run a lot hotter if you ask them to play a lot of channels, which shortens their life spans and can have negative effects over time. Separate amps can be good for your system whether or not it sounds better to your ears. Preamps can focus on processing, switching, etc, without having all those amp components stuffed inside all around the mother board, and without having to perform that function as well.

2. More headroom is always good considering you don't know what kind of source material, equipment, or task you're going to throw at it in the future. For instance, some of these sound mixers will work in really big volume level changes within a movie that hits peaks far louder than others, and good amp/speaker combinations will handle it with ease. You can make upgrades to speakers without giving it a thought, and if you build a bigger house with a bigger room in the future, again, you'll have what you need to drive it.
Exactly. I feel that everyone into home theater should have, at least, a good 3-channel amp since the front 3 speakers are the most demanding in movies and 2-channel music. Not only that, but down the line if you happen to fall in love with new speakers that happen to to be power hungry, you're not at a disadvantage right off the bat.
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post #48 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 09:33 AM
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Alot of the comments here reaffirm my position of leaving Audessey/YPAO/AccuEQ/MCACC all in the "OFF" position. As in the case of the OP, we upgrade speakers, amps, processors to our specific liking and then let a programming algorithm roll the "digital dice" and spit out something that we have to go back and correct anyway. I may prefer a speaker because of its warmer characteristic, but Audessey says: "No you don't". My measurements tell me that my front speakers are 10ft from the main listening position, but AccuEQ says: "No, they're 6.5ft". YPAO tells me that the sound is optimized for my room, but my ears tell me it's too fatiguing. I think someone here gave the advice to turn off room correction and processing to see if there is a difference.

"Excuse me...What does God need with a Starship?" (Captain Kirk - Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
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post #49 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 10:59 AM
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This is an ages old argument, regarding amps. I'll just say that a lot of people seem to have the impression that driving a speaker is no more complex than jump-starting a car. The interaction between an amp and a speaker is extremely complex. The amp doesn't just feed power like an AC outlet. It precisely controls microscopic movements of the drivers. That interaction is more complex with some speakers than with others. It tends to get more complex the better the speaker is, because the designers of speakers engineer them with the target customer in mind. Lesser speakers are designed to be simpler to drive, but with sacrifices to accomplish that. That doesn't mean there isn't (and always has been) a LOT of snake oil in audio, because there is. Amps can make a difference. Every piece of electronics in the chain can make a difference. Some differences might be so small that you can't hear them. Other times you don't know what to listen for. I generally don't argue it with people.


Plus, when it comes right down to it, this is a hobby. Nobody is saving lives here. Everyone is into this stuff simply for enjoyment, and they get that enjoyment however they choose.
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post #50 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnCO View Post
This is an ages old argument, regarding amps. I'll just say that a lot of people seem to have the impression that driving a speaker is no more complex than jump-starting a car. The interaction between an amp and a speaker is extremely complex. The amp doesn't just feed power like an AC outlet. It precisely controls microscopic movements of the drivers. That interaction is more complex with some speakers than with others. It tends to get more complex the better the speaker is, because the designers of speakers engineer them with the target customer in mind. Lesser speakers are designed to be simpler to drive, but with sacrifices to accomplish that. That doesn't mean there isn't (and always has been) a LOT of snake oil in audio, because there is. Amps can make a difference. Every piece of electronics in the chain can make a difference. Some differences might be so small that you can't hear them. Other times you don't know what to listen for. I generally don't argue it with people.


Plus, when it comes right down to it, this is a hobby. Nobody is saving lives here. Everyone is into this stuff simply for enjoyment, and they get that enjoyment however they choose.
Correcto...
Driving a loudspeaker is much different than a bench load resistor...
Each loudspeaker with its unique X-over and drivers load an amplifier differently, resulting in a different acoustic frequency response....
Just another variable when comparing components & final system performance...
One person may endorse it another may hate it...

Just my $0.02...
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post #51 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnCO View Post
This is an ages old argument, regarding amps. I'll just say that a lot of people seem to have the impression that driving a speaker is no more complex than jump-starting a car. The interaction between an amp and a speaker is extremely complex. The amp doesn't just feed power like an AC outlet. It precisely controls microscopic movements of the drivers. That interaction is more complex with some speakers than with others. It tends to get more complex the better the speaker is, because the designers of speakers engineer them with the target customer in mind. Lesser speakers are designed to be simpler to drive, but with sacrifices to accomplish that. That doesn't mean there isn't (and always has been) a LOT of snake oil in audio, because there is. Amps can make a difference. Every piece of electronics in the chain can make a difference. Some differences might be so small that you can't hear them. Other times you don't know what to listen for. I generally don't argue it with people.


Plus, when it comes right down to it, this is a hobby. Nobody is saving lives here. Everyone is into this stuff simply for enjoyment, and they get that enjoyment however they choose.
So what you are saying is the harder the speaker is to drive, the better quality the drivers so the better the sound? Uhhhh, that is easy to test for by doing an impedance sweep (and throw capacitance and inductance in there also) So you don't want a smooth, even impedance load of the driver across it's bandwidth, you want wild impedance swings just so the amp can have something to do. Heck, I can purchase some B&C iPal drivers that have a 1.2 ohm voice coil and have sonic bliss. After all, a "real" amp should be able to handle one ohm loads and operate with very low distortion. I'll ignore the amp guys that point out that as impedance drops, amplifier distortion goes up naturally--don't have time for that!

Looing at actual impedane sweeps of many speakers, comparing them to polar charts and distortion charts--I don't see any indication that how hard it is to drive a speaker has anything to do with sound quality. When I was a teenage, an older friend had a pair of Infinity Kappa 9's and they were reallly hard to drive with impedane drops down to 0.8 ohms. He needed to have a 75 pound plus monster amp just to run the things, that amp would get HOT if he decided to get some party level SPLs out of the thigs. They sounded good but I've heard better that did not require an amplifier capable of arc welding during the off hours.

Some ribbon drivers have a very flat impedance sweep, almost looks iike they tested a resistor. Since it is not impossible to drive, it must sound bad. I've heard some really good speakers and they were very easy to drive--heck, they were connected to tube amps which get unstable below 4 ohms--I believe for the most part those massive speakers operated in the 8 to 16 ohm range.

The goal of speaker driver manufacturers is to make their drivers easier to drive, not harder to drive! If they can make, say a 6.5 inch midwoofer that was 8 ohms with less than 5% impedance variation across the full bandwidth--they'd sell a ton of them. Sure, you can use zobel networks in passive crossovers to counter wild impedance issues but the idea is not to require one to work with amplifiers.

As far as amps go, I can purchase car amps for minimal cost that will run all day at 1 ohm in a hot car--does not take much to do so. Plenty of PA amps operate at 2 ohms stable, no problem getting variants that operate at 1 ohm stable. Why does the B&C iPal have such a low impedance? It has to do with inductance and power handling--NOT sound quality. The thing has a huge voice coil to handle many KW of power which increases the inductance of the voice coil--this leads to it acting like a low pass filter at frequencies around 80 to 100 Hz--a very bad thing if using it for bass bins in arena sound (where they are generally used) To counter that, they designed it the way it is to extend the frequency response when using a huge voice coil...nothing to do with sound quality.

Generally speaking, it is not a good design if the speaker is hard to drive. Some speakers are hard to drive because it costs $$$ to get the crossover filters right to fix those problems. Other speakers are hard to drive because it is much cheaper/eaier to use two 6 ohm woofers that the smaller versions use one of than to have a seperate run of 8 to 16 ohm woofers to allow an easier to drive speaker. The popular thing now is to have a bookshelf speaker with one woofer, a mini-tower with two woofers and a full tower with three woofers. You can bet if they made the woofers at 8 ohms, 16 ohms and 24 ohms to get the same impedance the bean counters would go nuts as it effects their christmas bonus. In professional sound speaker drivers, it is common to see drivers rated at 4, 8 and 16 ohms so they can be used by themselves or in clusters depending on how the OEM wishes to design the speaker and for what use. I saw some line array drivers offered in 32 ohms so the suggested minimum line of 8 drivers would be 4 ohms nominal. It all depends on the drivers, their design, the design of the enclosure and what bandwidth is used with the driver. Easy to make a mess out of a tweeter, just drive it near resonance so fight that large spike of impedance inherent with speaker drivers. Then use midranges that have there inpedance rise naturally with frequency increases and you can have a hot mess of impedances--then screw up the crossover filters and drive the minimum impedance below 1 ohm. An extreme example--sure! A lot of times a really messy impedance sweep indicates a bad design, not a good one.

Beating on an amplifier with really tough loads just generates more distortion, more heat and eventual current limiting and clipping. Not sure where you get the idea that the harder the speaker is to drive automatically creates better sound, the opposite tends to be more true in reality. I have a chip amp that cost me $20 and it is stable into 2 ohm loads--I used a DVC 2 ohm per coil subwoofer to check it out, no problem! My 4 ohm stable amplifier would not drive that load without getting really hot and going into protection mode--and it sure cost more than the chip amp. My PA amp does do 2 ohm loads without flinching to very high power levels, it does not means it's better than the 4 ohm stable amp. It is just designed to do that is all.

In summation, good sound does not require any special amplifiers unless it is a very specific design that demands them. The B&C iPal 1.2 ohm drivers and electrostatic speakers are tough to drive specifically. I would not use the iPal amplifier that matches the driver, I don't have a 240V 30 amp outlet laying around. I would not use a tube amp with an electrostatic speaker just as I would not use 1 ohm DVC car subwoofers with McIntosh amplifiers. You can't paint a broad brush of "best" unless you know why the speaker (or speaker driver) is designed that way, some of the oddities inherent in the design and so on. All speakers are a compomise in some way so pick the one that fits your needs for a far greater chance of success in your room, at your listening distance and whatever SPL and frequency response you require. Sure, you can just throw money at it but with audio, the other factors make it highly unlikely you'll get decent sound no matter how much the gear costs. Just because you bought a race car does not mean you know how to drive it effectively.
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post #52 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 04:31 PM
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In the interest of gaining knowledge rather than arguing, sometime last year I was trying to gain better understanding of some of the terms I'd been throwing around for years, without fully understanding what they meant. I came across
that has an excellent, concise explanation of how different audio amplifiers work. I admit, Paul McGowan is a "believer", but PS Audio does make Class A, A/B and D amps, so they haven't limited themselves to one approach. This video just does an excellent job of explaining the different designs. It's pretty clear that there's a very dynamic interaction going on with amplifiers and that they aren't just simple power conduits. My understanding is that, theoretically, a perfect Class D amp can produce the best of all worlds, but after learning how Class D amps work, it's obvious that is not an easy thing to accomplish. Class D designs are getting closer every year, though.


Also, I found
that (not so seriously) explains how speakers work. Again, it's not just a matter of simple power. It's a dynamic interaction. You only have to watch the first couple minutes of that video. It doesn't go into much depth, but it's helpful.


So, watch the videos if you want. I found them both extremely educational and enlightening.



BTW, when I said better speakers tend to be more difficult to drive, that's exactly what I meant. The "tend to", which means, not always. For example, XU speakers, which I hear fabulous things about are remarkably efficient and simple to drive, because they have an extremely unusual design that doesn't involve a crossover. If you look at many higher end speakers, Wilson, Vandersteen, etc. they TEND to be more difficult to drive.
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post #53 of 62 Old 07-23-2019, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnCO View Post
This is an ages old argument, regarding amps. I'll just say that a lot of people seem to have the impression that driving a speaker is no more complex than jump-starting a car. The interaction between an amp and a speaker is extremely complex. The amp doesn't just feed power like an AC outlet. It precisely controls microscopic movements of the drivers. That interaction is more complex with some speakers than with others. It tends to get more complex the better the speaker is, because the designers of speakers engineer them with the target customer in mind. Lesser speakers are designed to be simpler to drive, but with sacrifices to accomplish that. That doesn't mean there isn't (and always has been) a LOT of snake oil in audio, because there is. Amps can make a difference. Every piece of electronics in the chain can make a difference. Some differences might be so small that you can't hear them. Other times you don't know what to listen for. I generally don't argue it with people.


Plus, when it comes right down to it, this is a hobby. Nobody is saving lives here. Everyone is into this stuff simply for enjoyment, and they get that enjoyment however they choose.
bottom line, if you can tell a difference in a double blind test, you should buy. If you can not, it is a snake oil for you. Save your money.

The problem is that most people can not tell the difference or don't even attempt to test but buy it because someone else gives them a reason here.

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post #54 of 62 Old 07-26-2019, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by spacecowboy View Post
Alot of the comments here reaffirm my position of leaving Audessey/YPAO/AccuEQ/MCACC all in the "OFF" position. As in the case of the OP, we upgrade speakers, amps, processors to our specific liking and then let a programming algorithm roll the "digital dice" and spit out something that we have to go back and correct anyway. I may prefer a speaker because of its warmer characteristic, but Audessey says: "No you don't". My measurements tell me that my front speakers are 10ft from the main listening position, but AccuEQ says: "No, they're 6.5ft". YPAO tells me that the sound is optimized for my room, but my ears tell me it's too fatiguing. I think someone here gave the advice to turn off room correction and processing to see if there is a difference.
My thoughts on this whole process exactly. Much too much emphasis on selling a bunch of computer chip crap, in order to make the sound flat to a measurement microphone, but not flat to anyone's individual hearing. I have had this conclusion ever since well over 20 yrs ago, when the auto eq on my yamaha eq 1100u always seemed to leave me wanting for own adjustments. I believe many have never had the guts to make such a stance on the forum. Every time I did it , i wave of industry supporting dealers would attack me lol.

The audio world likes playing with words, and if the public takes them to mean more benefit then they really are......... its not their fault as long as the wording is correct,,,,,,,,, no matter how misleading they do intend to be. Unless you take some extra time to understand USA law, many could easily come to the conclusion that ATI amps are made in the USA, by reading their home page. However this is not the case.............. and ATI will be more than happy you believe they are made in the USA, even though the wording technically says, everything but assembly is farmed out to foreign interests, and we did fax them the engineering designs.

https://******************.com/index.php?topic=459.60
A Good amplifier requires a adequate power supply, It does not matter what the amplifier is capable of if the power supply will not provide the power required. Most amplifiers have under rated power supplies. It is up to you to make sure you get the ones that are least under rated if at all.

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post #55 of 62 Old 07-26-2019, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
bottom line, if you can tell a difference in a double blind test, you should buy. If you can not, it is a snake oil for you. Save your money.

The problem is that most people can not tell the difference or don't even attempt to test but buy it because someone else gives them a reason here.

The real snake oil, is people trying to sell people cheap crap, on the double blind testing basis.

https://******************.com/index.php?topic=459.60
A Good amplifier requires a adequate power supply, It does not matter what the amplifier is capable of if the power supply will not provide the power required. Most amplifiers have under rated power supplies. It is up to you to make sure you get the ones that are least under rated if at all.
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post #56 of 62 Old 07-27-2019, 06:56 AM
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My thoughts on this whole process exactly. Much too much emphasis on selling a bunch of computer chip crap, in order to make the sound flat to a measurement microphone, but not flat to anyone's individual hearing. I have had this conclusion ever since well over 20 yrs ago, when the auto eq on my yamaha eq 1100u always seemed to leave me wanting for own adjustments. I believe many have never had the guts to make such a stance on the forum. Every time I did it , i wave of industry supporting dealers would attack me lol.
If I had the resources, I'd build my own house and have someone design me a purpose built listening room for stereo and HT. That's not a realistic proposition for me right now though, so I wound up using the best room I had available for my setup. It's in the basement, next to the laundry room and the dimensions are smaller than I would like, but it's what I have. It is big enough and configured in a way that I have the ability to put together a nice 5.1 layout, and I could even step up to 7.1 or 5.1.2 if I wanted.

In my situation, I can say that the room correction capabilities of my receiver made a HUGE difference in how my system sounds, especially with bass response. I'm literally hearing things again that were sucked out of the music when I was running my previous system without room correction. This same previous system in a different house and different room, sounded much better than it did in my current home. My new system with room correction sounds better than both of them did without any doubt.

Could I have achieved the same results by focusing on room enhancements and manually tweaking things? IMHO, the answer is no. I don't have the technical knowledge to do it properly. For someone like me, room correction is a godsend. My system has never sounded better and I get far more enjoyment out of it now than I ever have.
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post #57 of 62 Old 07-27-2019, 10:11 AM
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I agree with a lot of what's being said here, great advise! One thing I would add, and I may be off base, but I do believe there are very slight sound differences between different class amplifiers, between, say a pure class A tube amp and a solid state Class A/B amp and from a class D amp with different types of speakers. I do believe, though, with a competent designed, say class A/B amp with quality components from a reputable company, that they should sound the same, all things being equal (same room, same speakers, wires etc.) But I think when you go up in price of these similar amps, I do believe that component quality is the deciding factor for longevity and consistency over time of the sound quality,(ie sounds the same today, tomorrow, next month, next year and so on). Also, I do believe that if you separate the duties of the amp and pre-amp, again of good quality and reputable company, you can maintain the sound quality over the long run. All the things stuffed in one box get crowded, some compromises have to be met to get to those price points.
just my $.02 ($.01 Canadian)
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post #58 of 62 Old 07-27-2019, 04:02 PM
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If I had the resources, I'd build my own house and have someone design me a purpose built listening room for stereo and HT. That's not a realistic proposition for me right now though, so I wound up using the best room I had available for my setup. It's in the basement, next to the laundry room and the dimensions are smaller than I would like, but it's what I have. It is big enough and configured in a way that I have the ability to put together a nice 5.1 layout, and I could even step up to 7.1 or 5.1.2 if I wanted.

In my situation, I can say that the room correction capabilities of my receiver made a HUGE difference in how my system sounds, especially with bass response. I'm literally hearing things again that were sucked out of the music when I was running my previous system without room correction. This same previous system in a different house and different room, sounded much better than it did in my current home. My new system with room correction sounds better than both of them did without any doubt.

Could I have achieved the same results by focusing on room enhancements and manually tweaking things? IMHO, the answer is no. I don't have the technical knowledge to do it properly. For someone like me, room correction is a godsend. My system has never sounded better and I get far more enjoyment out of it now than I ever have.
What this means is you lacked the equipment necessary to tweak the sound. Auto correction is not necessary, if you have the variable crossovers, parametric equalizers etc, to adjust the sound as needed. The main benefit is in the pro world where every day your doing a set up in a new arena or dance hall etc. The Room eqs will get you to a starting point faster. IF your in a 4 by 4 room with cement walls. I really do not see much that even room correction can do for anyone, and then of course if that is the only room your ever going to be in............ Guess it only benefits you once.

https://******************.com/index.php?topic=459.60
A Good amplifier requires a adequate power supply, It does not matter what the amplifier is capable of if the power supply will not provide the power required. Most amplifiers have under rated power supplies. It is up to you to make sure you get the ones that are least under rated if at all.
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post #59 of 62 Old 07-27-2019, 05:46 PM
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What this means is you lacked the equipment necessary to tweak the sound. Auto correction is not necessary, if you have the variable crossovers, parametric equalizers etc, to adjust the sound as needed. The main benefit is in the pro world where every day your doing a set up in a new arena or dance hall etc. The Room eqs will get you to a starting point faster. IF your in a 4 by 4 room with cement walls. I really do not see much that even room correction can do for anyone, and then of course if that is the only room your ever going to be in............ Guess it only benefits you once.
Agreed, I do lack the equipment and expertise to tweak the sound on my own, hence the reason the room correction works so well for me. It's user friendly, simple, and gets results.

As for the room itself, it is basically the finished portion of a half finished basement. I have some basic room treatments at the primary reflection points and the front, back and one side wall would be cement in behind the finished drywall. The other side wall, while finished, adjoins the unfinished portion of the basement so it's not immediately adjacent to the cement wall on that side. There is also a fairly large opening at the back of the room which leads up the stairs to the main floor.

All I know is that it sounds fantastic!
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post #60 of 62 Old 07-29-2019, 12:03 PM
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bottom line, if you can tell a difference in a double blind test, you should buy. If you can not, it is a snake oil for you. Save your money.

The problem is that most people can not tell the difference or don't even attempt to test but buy it because someone else gives them a reason here.
My first problem with double blind testing is somewhat as you have indirectly stated already................ Somebody somewhere does a supposed double blind test, and then everyone wants to use that same test to support some garbage product, weather it be a sales pitch or a defense. There are no measurable differences, just the subjective opinion of the people involved in the test.

These same people who have just accepted this test as valid, will then argue about actual measurements, and put others down
for even suggesting talking about audio in the same subjective, descriptive adjectives. Ie, It sounds harsh. The imaging is poor,
, the sound stage is great, the dynamics sound compressed,,,,,,,, and the list goes on forever.................

I have seen this conflictive stance presented by many Avs users, where , at one hand they support double blind testing, yet on the other hand , put down subjective arguments by others, and demand concrete statistical numbers, and sound measurements at the same time. If one is to support a subjective test like double blind,,,,,,,,,, they must also have to accept any subjective argument made by any other user as valid.


I could go on forever on the inaccuracies of all subjective testing, but the main one is a 30 minute test accomplishes nothing. The true value of good equipment comes out over long time periods of listening, ie, months and years. It comes out after listening to a wide range of genre,,,,,,,, and types of music. How well we are rested and willing to listen to music also comes into play. A blind test cannot possibly be done applying everyone's possible home setup. of which some setups will extract more detail, while others will not.

Back to the monoprice amps............... Great amps, capable of lots of power, allowing full dynamic range. Some specs could be better, but the 5 star rating of these amplifiers is hardly seen by any other manufacturer. I have never seen a complaint yet. I am waiting for someone to do a double blind test, and tell me the AVR sounds better without a Monlith 7, or that they can't tell the difference and are returning it.

https://******************.com/index.php?topic=459.60
A Good amplifier requires a adequate power supply, It does not matter what the amplifier is capable of if the power supply will not provide the power required. Most amplifiers have under rated power supplies. It is up to you to make sure you get the ones that are least under rated if at all.
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